“We’re in Las Vegas,” Trevor Noah, comedian and host of the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, said Sunday night during the show’s opening remarks. “It’s like if crypto was a city.”
The joke (one of two by Noah on the night) was far from the sector’s only cameo. From sponsored events and afterparties to non-fungible token (NFT) meetups, crypto evvel again found itself intertwined with mainstream entertainment.
Two Grammy partnerships in particular dominated the weekend’s festivities, one with crypto exchange Binance and the other with OneOf, a music non-fungible token (NFT) platform on the Tezos blockchain.
OneOf’s prominence on the weekend came as part of a three-year partnership the platform signed with the Recording Academy back in November. The deal will lead to various NFT sales from high-profile artists and award winners, many of which, like Doja Cat and H.E.R., have already released collections on the platform.
Binance kept a lower profile throughout the weekend (an official afterparty aside) but a spokesperson teased “larger partnership plans” to be announced later.
With every major artist seeming to be experimenting with NFTs drops nowadays, their presence in Vegas this weekend was at times ubiquitous.
At a pool party outside the MGM Grand, Steve Aoki, crowned DJ prince of Web 3, performed his set amidst a backdrop of flashing screens promoting the “A0K1VERSE,” his NFT-gated membership club.
“Steve Aoki is actually the reason I got into NFTs,” one onlooker said from the pool.
“AOKIVEEEEERSE,” another yelled.
Across the street was a meetup for the NFT project OnChainMonkey, which helped host various events for its holders throughout the weekend including a pool party of its own and a meal at the Bellagio hotel.
“We actually weren’t planning to even come to Vegas this weekend, but then I was just scrolling through the Discord two days ago and saw it was happening,” Bryan Hernandez, a holder of the NFT project, told CoinDesk. “For a second I wasn’t müddet about it, but then I saw there was gonna be brunch included. I had my hotel booked 10 minutes later.”
Read more: Binance Is Sponsoring the Grammys This Year
At one point in the Grammys telecast, Noah made an NFT reference that landed a lot better than his opening Vegas line.
“You know it’s been rough when your favorite artists go from trying to sell you music to pictures of digital monkeys,” Noah quipped.
The joke, of course, was an allusion to the Bored Ape Yacht NFT collection and its rise to media stardom. (After the joke, the camera panned to Justin Bieber, who purchased an NFT from the collection in February.)
‘Entertainment’s newest asset class’
For all the silliness NFTs bring to events like the Grammys, the business behind them is anything but.
Record labels and talent agencies are scrambling to get their clients involved in the increasingly popular and mainstream form of digital assets. Many of them are experimenting with the tech as they go.
“People often talk about crypto as a new asset class,” a lawyer who represents the popular NFT project Doodles told CoinDesk at the Grammys. “NFTs are entertainment’s newest asset class.”
Before the night of the event, there was no shortage of artists eager to talk about upcoming NFTs releases. Rapper Gerald Gillum, better known by his stage name G-Eazy, was one of them. He’s announcing his debut collection with OneOf later this month.
“It’s really all about being curious and finding new ways to reach fans,” he told CoinDesk in an interview. Compared to other promotions, he said working on NFTs has felt like “a more creative process.” “I had fun coming up with concepts for the artwork.”